Close to 300 neglected animals have been rescued from a Miller Place home infested with rodents and roaches, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney’s office announced Tuesday.
The DA office’s Biological, Environmental and Animal Safety Team (BEAST), which was established just this year, partnered with the Town of Brookhaven and the ASPCA to remove the hoarded animals from the vermin-infested home and bring them to safety.
“Thanks to our partnership with the Town of Brookhaven, we were alerted to the deplorable conditions these helpless animals were living in and we immediately took action,” Tierney said. “Through our partnerships with local government and rescue groups, we can work cohesively to ensure that these types of inhumane abuse of animals are addressed and those who participate in them are held accountable.”
The homeowner, 51-year-old Karin M. Keyes, was charged with multiple counts of cruel confinement of animals under the Agriculture and Markets Law. BEAST Supervising Attorney Jed Painter is prosecuting the case. A lawyer for Keyes was not yet disclosed.
Officials from the district attorney’s office reported that the animals were found living in filth, many of them surrounded by their own waste. They estimated that thousands of cockroaches were crawling throughout the house.
The animals included 118 rabbits, 150 birds, 15 cats, seven tortoises, and three snakes, some of which were suffering medical conditions. The ASPCA helped to safely remove them and is now assisting with the forensics investigation, according to the DA’s office. The pets will all be transferred to animal welfare organizations throughout New York State to receive care.
“When ASPCA responders arrived on the property, it was clear that immediate intervention was necessary to remove hundreds of neglected animals from the inhumane and brutal conditions they were subjected to and provide them with expert care,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO.
“The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has developed a task force dedicated to helping animals in need, and we commend them for prioritizing efforts to stop animal neglect and cruelty in their communities,” Bershadker added. “The ASPCA is proud to support their work by bringing these animals to safety and assisting the prosecutorial case through evidence collection, forensic exams, and legal and investigative support.”
The Town of Brookhaven first reported the issue on Oct. 1, when the operation to remove the animals began. The town has condemned the property and deemed it unlivable.